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R.J. Haney Heritage Village Board of Directors Announce Canada 150 Project

R.J. Haney Heritage Village & Museum is planning a community celebration for the Canada 150 Celebration

What better place to celebrate Canada’s 150th on Canada Day 2017 than Salmon Arm’s R.J. Haney Heritage Village?

The Board of Directors of the R.J. Haney Heritage Village is planning a celebration for the whole community.  The Directors have decided to mark this national event with the grand opening of the Montebello Block – a new museum, archives and, 9 dioramas all housed in a multipurpose building at the Village.

The Montebello Project is the City of Salmon Arm’s designated cornerstone infrastructure project for 2017.  Last week Bill Laird, Honourary Chair of the Heritage Village’s Fund Development Committee, said, “Thanks to the support from the City, we are pulling out all the stops, and moving full steam ahead on a campaign to raise donations and pledges.”   Laird was pleased to note that there have been over $700,000.00 in local commitments to date for the 1.4 million dollar project.

The name Montebello Block is taken from a local historic landmark, the Montebello Hotel. Built in 1908, the upscale hotel had in-door plumbing, a bar, and pool tables.  The building stood at the corner of Hudson and Alexander and remained an iconic part of downtown Salmon Arm until it was consumed by fire in 1967, tragically claiming two lives, destroying several other businesses, and changing the community landscape forever.

So what does the Montebello Block offer that makes it worthy of its name? Just as the original hotel was an architectural keystone in Salmon Arm’s downtown core, the Montebello Block is the architectural presence that will make R.J. Haney Heritage Village feel complete, as if it is densely populated like the core was more than 100 years ago.

A lot of thought has gone into the design of the Montebello Block. The front façade will give the appearance of several smaller buildings, each representing key elements of a community that are currently missing from the Village. Historic photographs of downtown Salmon Arm have served as inspiration for the façade’s designs. However, the focus is more on representation than replication of any particular building.  The exhibits will reflect authentic early day Salmon Arm businesses such as the Bank of Hamilton, the E.A. Palmer Butcher Shop, and the S.M. McGuire General Merchant Store and Miss Puff’s dress shop and millinery.

The Board of Directors recognizes the commitment that will be required from the staff and volunteers to complete a project of this enormity and quality.  With the community celebration in mind for July 1, 2017 the Board believes that staff and volunteers will need to focus on the Montebello Block project during this fall and winter to ensure that construction can start no later than the spring of 2016.

“This is a legacy project and we need to complete it on time and within budget,” President Norma Harisch reported. “With this focus in mind the Board made the difficult decision to cancel the popular Annual Spooktacular event for this year,” said Harisch, “but I am sure we will be back stronger than ever next year,” she added.

For more information about the Montebello Block, how to make a donation or pledge to the project, or to volunteer please contact the Village at 250-832-5243.

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